History and Context
The State School Board created the Oregon State Seal of Biliteracy (OSSB) to recognize and value the native language/s students speak and bring to their English academic studies, to value language programs in schools, and to encourage students in the study of languages. This award recognizes student proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking in two or more languages.
In just a few years after its inception, the OSSB had already recognized students who speak 47 different primary languages and earned the Biliteracy Seal in over 22 different languages, including Chinuk Wawa, Nez Perce, and Umatilla, three of the languages spoken by students from two of the nine federally recognized Tribes in Oregon. In addition, students who use ASL have also earned the OSSB. The Oregon State Seal of Biliteracy was the first in the nation to collaborate with post-secondary institutions to offer the Seal. A Seal of Multiliteracy (OSSM) has also been added to the program, to honor student proficiency in three or more languages.
ODE is striving to remove barriers so that more districts can offer the OSSB and OSSM, which we hope will continue to form a meaningful addition to the many ways districts validate students' primary languages, as well as recognizing and honoring the work students have done to ready themselves for participation in a multilingual society.